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We stopped Labour's port sell off - now a community led port is rising at Dover

Applications have now closed for the post of Community Director at the Port of Dover. So I thought this would be a good moment to write about the appointment process and plans for the future of the port.

When I was elected back in 2010, the port was about to be sold off to the French or whoever. This was the plan of the previous Government. All that was needed was the flick of the Minister's pen and it would all have been over. With the community, I campaigned passionately and relentlessly to stop the port sell off. For our community to be able to own the port and make it a People's Port if it was to be sold off. The Dover referendum and my defeating the Government in a key Parliamentary vote finally saw us triumph. After a long and hard campaign we had won and stopped the sell off. Yet it was never going to be enough to let matters rest there. There had to be change and reform at the port.

The port needed new leadership and to be able to raise money to invest if it was to realise its potential. The port needed to be seen to benefit the town and community. And there needed to be a proper link between the community and the port. The leadership at the port was changed and made much progress. The Ports Minister came some months ago and announced further changes. The port will now be able to raise the money needed to make the transformation. There will be a community benefit fund. And there will be community directors enabling a community led port to rise at the docks. 

It's important the community directors are treated the same as all the other directors. That means they should be paid the same as the other directors. Otherwise our community's voice would be diminished before it even gets into the boardroom. It's important these directors are genuine - chosen by our community to represent our community's interest. For this reason, the interviewing panel will include the Labour Mayor of Dover, the Conservative Leader of Dover District Council, the Chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership and the Member of Parliament. In addition it will include the Chairmen of the Port Community Forum and of the Port Businesses Group. All levels of Government and representative groups will be involved in the choice.

It's really positive that everyone who cares about Dover and the success of the port is coming together in this way. I am so proud elected representatives of our community are continuing to work together cross party and working with the Harbour Board on the interviewing panel. This is essential if we are to see the true partnership that has been needed for so many decades.

Conservative run Dover District Council is moving ahead with plans to demolish Burlington House and redevelop the site on Dover's Townwall Street. Do you support this?

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Dover & Deal Conservative Association, 54 The Strand, Walmer, Deal, Kent   CT14 7DP
Tel: 01304 379669      Email: enquiries@doverconservatives.com